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Top techniques for safe towing

24 Apr 2014 at 12:04

Improvements in the weather traditionally mean more and more drivers will head out on the roads towing caravans and other loads.

Britain's most senior advanced driver is offering a few tips to help them tow as safely as possible.

Peter Rodger, the Chief Examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), says people should follow a series of techniques when towing other cars, boats, horseboxes and caravans, as they are obviously responsible for two vehicles rather than one.

The first check is to ensure that what is being towed is certainly no heavier than 85% of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. Anything heavier is likely to be unstable and could easily lead to accidents.

Drivers should check that nothing is loose or disconnected before they set off and again a short way into their journey. All light connections should be tested with the help of another person and all towed units and vehicles must have an illuminated number plate.

Tyre pressures across all vehicles should be checked and drivers should naturally increase their stopping distances because of the extra load, leaving plenty of room from the car in front in case it brakes sharply.

Overtaking, turning, parking, lane changes and motorway entrances and exits will all take more time and require more space.

Although the law doesn't demand the use of extended mirrors, these are extremely useful and make up for not being able to use the rear view mirror.

Mr Rodger reminds drivers that towing vehicles often have to adhere to different speed limits and they should allow other drivers to pass wherever possible.

Copyright Press Association 2014